2020 saw the arrival of Samsung’s first Galaxy Z Flip and, with it, what feels like the true dawning of the modern folding (and flipping) smartphone age; blowing Motorola’s similar clamshell Razr foldables out of the water.
The debut device scored 4.5 stars in our Galaxy Z Flip review, before a follow-up added 5G to improve things even further. So what will the pride of South Korea do to add that last half-star when the next entry arrives?
Let’s round up all the latest news and rumours surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2 (or is it Flip 3?).
When will the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2 be released?
While Samsung has yet to confirm that the Galaxy Z Flip 2 even exists, there are rumblings of a later-than-expected launch.
The original Galaxy Z Flip was announced on 14 February 2020 at the first Samsung Unpacked event of the year. It was accompanied by other flagships, such as the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Galaxy Buds+. It was later joined by the Z Flip 5G, in July 2020.
The 2021 follow-up didn’t appear at this January’s Unpacked, alongside the Galaxy S21 range, so the question now is when it will arrive?
Korean news site The Elec claimed that the Flip 2 will be announced in Q2 of 2021, but other tipsters have pointed to later dates.
Sorry Z Flip fans, hearing the Z Flip 2 launch is being moved back to the summer…
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss)
November 3, 2020
Tipster Ross Young – who has 25 years experience in the display industry – has suggested that the new flip phone won’t arrive until the summer.
That’s backed up by tipster Ice Universe, who claimed in early February that the next Z Flip won’t be here for another “5 months,” which takes us up to July at least.
We may have to wait 5 months to see Flip 3 and Fold 3.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce)
February 4, 2021
Further evidence for a later summer or autumn release comes from S-Connect – the Korean company responsible for manufacturing the hinges in Samsung’s foldables. ZDNet reported that the company will begin mass-producing hinges for the Z Flip 2/3 in Q2 2021, with mock-up development taking place in Q1.
SamMobile echoed that timetable, predicting a Q3 2021 launch for the Z Flip 2/3 and Z Fold 3.
Korean outlet ETNews claims that there’s even more on the way, with Samsung allegedly planning to release at least four foldables in the latter half of 2021, with two Flip-based variants as well as two Fold-style variants, which are thought to include the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Will it be called the Z Flip 2 or Z Flip 3?
The name of the next Z Flip has been curiously contentious.
So far we’ve had the Z Flip and the Z Flip 5G, a minor revision that mostly only tweaked the phone’s chipset to enable 5G support.
With that in mind you’d expect the next phone to be called the Z Flip 2, but numerous tipsters have claimed that it will in fact be called the Z Flip 3. This is likely as much to reflect the 5G version being iteration two as it is to bring the Flip numbering in line with the Galaxy Fold line, so that it doesn’t appear to be older tech.
On the other hand, the S-Connect document above clearly refers to the Z Flip 2 specifically, casting some doubt on these rumours of a name change.
How much will the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2/3 cost?
Ice Universe initially posted a few details surrounding the next Z Flip on Chinese social media site Weibo and claimed that this device will be “cheaper” than its predecessors. The original Galaxy Z Flip cost £1,300/$1,380 and the Galaxy Z Flip 5G moved up to £1,399/$1,449.
This theory has since been compounded by a report from display technology experts DSCC. Published on 7 December 2020, the report – written by Ross Young – states that “expectations for the Z Flip 3, Z Fold 3 and a 3rd foldable expected by Samsung to hit the lowest price points yet.”
That mentioned “3rd foldable” by the way, is thought to be the rumoured Galaxy Z Fold Scroll.
While we’re not expecting any massive reduction in cost, especially if 5G is now part of the Flip line’s equation by default, Ice Universe’s and DSCC’s posts do at least offer some hope that the next entry won’t be quite as eye-wateringly expensive as Samsung’s current offerings.
What to expect from the Galaxy Z Flip 2/3
Rumours about improved specs are a bit thin on the ground at the time of writing, but thanks to leaked images we do at least have a sense of what the next Z Flip will look like.
As for what the Z Flip 3 might look like, we actually have a pretty promising view, based on spy shots from what appear to be internal Samsung documentation, courtesy once again of Ice Universe on Weibo (alongside a potential build of the Galaxy Z Fold 3).
To add to that, LetsGoDigital teamed up with digital artist Giuseppe Spinelli (also known as Snoreyn) to then build clearer renders that of the potential Z Flip 3 design that highlight details like the larger external display.
These designs are as-yet unconfirmed, but they do match some of what we’ve heard from tipsters and other leaks about the upcoming phone.
First up, the colours match a prior leak from SamMobile reporting that the Z Flip 2/3 will launch with a selection of new colours: light violet, green, black and beige. These are exactly the colours we see in one of the leaked images above – though note that the LetsGoDigital renders re-interpret them as white and navy blue.
Perhaps more important is that larger external display, seemingly now capable of displaying full notifications and messages.
The original Z Flip and Z Flip 5G have a 1.1in display on the outsidee. While this provides a handy reference for the time, date, battery levels and offers basic touch control for music playback, a larger panel would make the feature more usable.
The Vietnamese tipster Chun is one of the industry experts who’s specifically claimed that a larger external display is on the way:
As of now (September 2020)100% confident:- bigger outer display- new UTG – Upgraded hinge- bigger batteryA bit concerned:- high refresh rate displayUnconfirmed:- specs (screen size, chipset, cam)- design#ZFlip2
— Chun (@chunvn8888)
September 16, 2020
This suggests that Samsung will indeed increase the outer panel size, improve the casing itself along with a stiffer hinge, plus a larger battery will make it a more robust option when away from power sources.
The original Weibo post from Ice Universe mentioned a couple of other potential hardware details; namely a 120Hz high refresh rate display and a narrower frame than the existing Flip entries.
As for the internals, less is known here. We had expected that the Z Flip 2/3 would use Qualcomm’s newest flagship Snapdragon 888 chipset, but this has since been cast into doubt.
As reported by GalaxyClub.nl, a device believed to be the next Z Flip with the model number ‘SM-F720F’ was spotted, with the ‘F’ indicating that it’s both a device destined for the international market and that it’s a 4G/LTE device, rather than a 5G-capable handset – which would have a ‘B’ at the end of its name based on existing Samsung convention.
The Snapdragon 888 has integrated 5G, so if the phone has both 5G and 4G versions then it likely wouldn’t use this chip for either. Still, it could use the relatively recent Snapdragon 865+ or intermediary Snapdragon 870, both of which can be used with or without a 5G modem. It’s also possible that Samsung will use the 888 in a 5G model and a different chip – even one of its own Exynos chips – for the 4G variant.
Complicating things, a more recent report from SamMobile points to a different model number, SM-F711, though doesn’t specify either an ‘F’ or ‘B’ suffix. This may represent the Chinese version of the handset though, with a different model number for the global release.
The SamMobile report further claims that the phone will ship with a choice of 128GB or 256GB storage, and run Android 11 and OneUI 3.5 – another indication of a late 2021 launch, since that software version is expected to arrive in late summer, when the Galaxy Note 21 would have launched, though we now know that phone has been scrapped.
For reference, the original Z Flip sported the model number SM-F700, while the Z Flip 5G used SM-F707.
The SM-F711 model number pops up again on China’s 3C certification system, revealing that at least in that market the phone will ship with the same 15W charger as the previous Z Flip models. That suggests the same maximum charging capacity, though it is possible, albeit unlikely, that the phone will be capable of faster charging than the charger it ships with.
The battery may also be similar. Battery certification listings reveal a two-cell battery setup for the next Z Flip, with the same total capacity – 3300mAh – as the two previous models. Hopefully, power optimisations elsewhere will help that battery last a bit longer instead.
SamMobile also points to an IP rating for the phone – the first for a Samsung foldable – which leaker Chun corroborated, adding that he believes it will be an IP53 rating, rather than the stronger IP68 rating found on flagships like the S21 Ultra.
We discussed the latest rumours surrounding the next Galaxy Z Flip in our weekly podcast, Fast Charge:
Obviously, this is all unconfirmed, so we’ll keep checking on news and leaks, and report them back here as more about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2/3 comes to light. Until then, take a look at our guide to the best new phones coming in this year to see what else might be the breakthrough device in the months ahead.
Related articles for further reading